Ms BATH (Eastern Victoria) (12:50): I rise to make mention of the inquiry into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the tourism and events sectors, and I do this through the lens of my own electorate, Eastern Victoria Region, and certainly thank all those individuals and organisations that contributed submissions and also to the inquiry.
If we look specifically at East Gippsland, we know that that most beautiful region has been so terribly hit over time—first drought, then the fires of 2019–20 and then the flow-on effect of the lockdown of the state of Victoria in terms of the COVID pandemic. I would like to sincerely thank Destination Gippsland, Captains Cove and the Paynesville Business and Tourism Association for coming to the inquiry via Zoom and Walhalla’s Star Hotel, Latrobe city councillor Darren Howe and the South Gippsland Shire Council for all providing very worthwhile input into this inquiry. I know a number of their contributions are incorporated into the bulk of the report.
Very much so in our region tourism is a driver and it is a very important area, but also so are those events sectors that were absolutely smashed because of the COVID pandemic and the lockdown of Victoria. Those people have been on their knees and continue to struggle to survive, and it is absolutely of the utmost importance that this government focuses on them, pays attention to them and supports them to get back up with their skyrockets, with their lovely events, to bring community together. I thank the inquiry. I was a participating member and certainly really felt that there were some worthwhile contributions.